"With language that dazzles and haunts, Erin Emily Ann Vance has honored the work of surrealist Remedios Varo in every line of these poems. In The Sorceress Who Left Too Soon each poem is more visceral and strange than the last. There is a deep melancholy here, but something more: a door to a realm beyond our own, where reality unspools and freedom is found."
"Erin Emily Ann Vance’s novel Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers is a vibrant, delicious, and haunting dip into the magical realism genre with a hint of a ghost story. After the death of their sister and her children the Morris siblings have a girl in a red dress appear to them one by one. This, and the resulting funeral and grief, bring forth memories which are disturbing, spine tingling, and steeped in strangeness which has always set their family apart in the small Alberta town. Vance’s writing is poetic and spine tingling in a way that will both make the reader delightfully terrified and yet completely satisfied."
"As with much of the author’s haunting poetry, this book reaches into the territory of fairy tales and the Gothic, but it simultaneously (and predominantly) grounds itself in contemporary realism. Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers demonstrates this kind of dual function in tonal terms, too: while it strays into morbid territory, it is punctuated throughout by surprising levity and humour."
"Each act in Vance’s text is a task as delicate as beekeeping and as heartfelt as grief."
A voice that is "bright and new in a way that isn’t self-conscious."
“Chilling and infectious… Vance’s poetic voice sparks a violent vertigo as her words bury themselves within you until you’re left moonstruck. Her work will become your nasty addiction.”
"Erin Emily Ann Vance's first novel reads like a Wes Anderson movie set in a Robert Kroetsch small town."
“Erin Emily Ann Vance’s The Sorceress Who Left Too Soon is a violently breathtaking examination of death and its feasting shadows. With a melancholic voice that weaves dark witchcraft into the mind and spirit, Vance transfixes her audience in this ethereal and severely sinister collection."
"The grotesque and the comical sit uneasily beside each other throughout [Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers], just as they do in fairy tales."
"Part ghost story, part murder mystery, Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers does what few of either genre have managed to do over the last couple years – keep its secrets. Like a star visible only in the periphery of vision, the true nature of Margot Morris’ death remains elusive, giving space for the grief of her siblings to act as a mirror of the readers’ experience. There is an undeniably poetic vein running through Vance’s prose, at times transforming the narrative into a prairie fairytale, at others drawing the reader in through dreamlike second-person, but always with just enough of the corporeal present to serve as a memento mori. Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers is certain to intrigue, delight, and perturb."
"Spellbinding, incantatory, and downright creepy, these poems invoke candle-lit rituals read in the dead of night."
A modern-day haunted house story, “Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers” is an unapologetically real meditation on life, death, mourning, and even growing up. A poetic nod to the Gothic and the mystic, this novel takes you gently by the hand for what feels like a nostalgic walk down the cold, small-town road of complicated adulthood and illustrates our own unsettling animalism.
"A richly dark portrait of an odd family in an odd town: unexpected, intoxicating, mysterious, and charming, like an unmarked bottle of vintage perfume turned up in a small-town thrift store."
"This book reads like one long poem, like the spaces between the lines of an obituary. Getting to know the Morris siblings in their grief is a grim journey. Vance doesn’t sugar coat death nor allow the reader any escape from its ugliness and it’s poetry. Every page is filled with gorgeous descriptions and metaphors, some are absolutely heartbreaking in their accuracy. I had a hard time putting this book down, the ending is a thrill ride in itself, leaving whispers hanging around long after you’ve finished reading. This is a story that I’ll be thinking about for a long time. Erin Vance makes the visceral beautiful, and has a unique way of imbedding macabre imagery into the skin. With not a symbol or a word out of place, this novel was crafted with precision and could have been penned by no other author."
"This unlikely cast of siblings made me desperately homesick for my hometown and growing up as that weird kid from that weird family. These characters each have their own (they think) private sorrows, and watching them all wing about and then land, finally, together — it feels inexplicable and glorious and hopeful, and I’m going to miss them all."
"Morbidly poetic. I really enjoyed the disturbing, nightmarish imagery in the writing and haunting mystery behind these fascinatingly flawed characters. Vance’s words will creep under your skin and seep into your dreams."
"With its gothic atmosphere and its eccentric cast of characters, it reminded me of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. The book is short, but it’s meant to be savoured; you can tell that the author chose every word very deliberately and the end result almost reads like a long poem."
“Erin Emily Ann Vance is one of Canada’s most vital and brilliant emerging writers. To read her work is to encounter a fresh, authentic, and haunting voice, one that is thrillingly new. Deftly bridging divides between genres, tones, and forms, her poetry evokes poignant and indelible images.
Her debut poetry collection, A History of Touching, is beautiful and disturbing in equal measure. These carefully crafted poems draw on history, witchcraft, folklore, true crime, and the Gothic to explore cultural and intimate narratives around women’s embodiment. Vance’s language is always gorgeous, but the affect here is often powerfully disquieting. This book is a stunning achievement.”